The last time a major US political party broke apart was 160 years ago. The issue: slavery. Dana Milbank predicts the GOP might follow in the Whigs' footsteps over a matter far less serious: Donald Trump. Republicans are split over "whether to embrace as their nominee a man who stands for isolationism and ethno-nationalism and who disparages women and minorities," Milbank writes at the Washington Post. The situation could have been avoided if "technocrat" RNC Chair Reince Priebus had tried to stop Trump early on or steered Republicans toward a "mainstream alternative," writes Milbank. Instead, he continues to preach "party unity above morality" and applaud Trump for attracting millions of voters to the GOP.
As Milbank sees it, the GOP now has three options, and all are problematic. The party could accept Trump as its nominee and "consign itself to political oblivion by antagonizing women, minority groups, and immigrants." It could accept Ted Cruz, which might mean "a riot by the Trump populists and the loss of all but far-right voters." Or it could go with somebody like Paul Ryan, which might keep the party intact, but at the risk of "alienating the majority of this year's GOP voters." As for Priebus, he's "in over his head," Milbank says. "There is no good option for Priebus now, except perhaps to resign if Trump secures the party nomination." Click for his full piece.